Leaked excerpts from the original research were published for the first time by MIT Technology Review, complete with Jiankui's claim of a mediucal breakthrough that could "control the HIV epidemic". Indeed, the risks of using gene-editing technologies on humans is still poorly understood, and in this case, the deletion of the CCR5 gene (which was done to confer an immunity to the HIV virus) has been linked to higher mortality rates from influenza.
Chinese police detained He in January and, as the Post reported, an initial investigation concluded that he "organised a project team that included foreign staff, which intentionally avoided surveillance and used technology of uncertain safety and effectiveness to perform human embryo gene-editing activity with the goal of reproduction, which is officially banned in the country".
According to reports, a Shenzhen court found that He, along with two colleagues, violated Chinese norms and ethics by editing the DNA of the twin embryos. All three scientists pleaded guilty during the trial, according to Xinhua.
China's state-run news service, Xinhua, is reporting that He and two other scientists involved in the illicit experiment were sentenced in the Nanshan District People's Court of Shenzhen.
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Zhang Renli, who served with He, was sentenced to two years in jail and fined 1m yuan. "The nature of their behaviour is serious and has constituted the crime of illegal medical practice".
Chen Bingzhong, a former director of the China Institute of Well being Training, mentioned there are issues that the three infants born with edited genes might face "surprising bodily modifications" later in life.
In 2015, a United Nations bioethics committee called for a stop to human embryo gene editing for fears it could be used to modify the human race.
CROs are often at the forefront of adopting new technologies to make clinical trials more efficient. Jiankui said he had successfully made them resistant to HIV, although some scientists have called that claim into question. He described his work in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press.
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They had acted "in the pursuit of personal fame and gain" and seriously "disrupted medical order", it said.
He's decision to perform the gene editing created an ethical firestorm.
"That technology is not safe", University of Pennsylvania genetics professor Kiran Musunuru said, referring to the CRISPR technology used in gene manipulation. Editing the human genome with the intention of producing living, breathing people is regarded as irresponsible by most of the medical community when there is still so much we don't know about the possible side effects.
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